Increased vitamin D is associated with decline of naïve, but accumulation of effector, CD8 T cells during early aging.

Academic Article


  • Given the protective roles of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D or vitamin D) in musculoskeletal health and the potential beneficial effects of vitamin D supplementation in reducing the risk of various chronic diseases, intensive repletion of vitamin D has been widely advocated. Of note, CD8 T cells have the highest levels of the vitamin D receptor compared with other major immune cells. The effects of vitamin D on CD8 T cells during aging, however, remain unclear. This study determined the relationship between vitamin D levels and CD8 T-cell status in 34 healthy female subjects (all >60 years old). The CD8 T cell phenotype was defined by the surface expression of CD28 and CD95. The low-25(OH)D serum groups (≤30 ng/ml) had higher percentages of CD28+CD95-CD8+ (naïve) T cells and lower percentages of CD28+CD95+CD8+ (effector) T cells. By contrast, subjects with high levels of 25(OH)D had very low percentages of naïve CD8 T cells but very high percentages of effector CD8 T cells. There was a significant inverse correlation between 25(OH)D levels and the frequency of naïve CD8 T cells. The results show that higher levels of vitamin D are correlated with decreased frequencies of naïve CD8 T cells during early aging, suggesting that higher levels of 25(OH)D accelerate CD8 T-cell senescence. These results warrant the further evaluation of the effects of vitamin D supplementation in immune aging.
  • Published In


  • human, immunosenescence, naïve CD8, vitamin D
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hwang YG; Hsu H-C; Lim F-C; Wu Q; Yang P; Fisher G; Hunter GR; Mountz JD
  • Start Page

  • 72
  • End Page

  • 80
  • Volume

  • 2
  • Issue

  • 2